This week, Facebook launched its long-awaited and heavily rumored “Instant Articles,” a new product featured on its mobile application that allows publishers to share rapid, interactive articles with readers on Facebook.
Facebook’s new product is a response to an increasingly popular trend in consumers accessing their news on mobile devices. Currently, articles on Facebook take an average of eight seconds to load. In today’s fast paced and content-overloaded environment, even this finite amount of time has proven to be a deterrent for readers, particularly those accessing news articles on mobile devices. Facebook’s “Instant Articles” mobile application feature will now expedite that viewing experience as much as ten times faster than standard access via the mobile web.
Interactivity is another exciting improvement that publishers can use to create more meaningful connections with users, lending a breath of fresh air to the rather antiquated news viewing experience that has seen little innovation over the past decade. Auto-play videos with tilt-zoom exploration, interactive maps, and in-line article commenting are just a few examples of the many new available features.
In addition to the upgraded user experience for readers, Facebook’s “Instant Articles” also provide publishers with a new range of possibilities over controlling content, brand experience and even monetization. Publishers now have the option of selling ads inside their articles, keeping 100 percent of revenue if they sell them. Otherwise, Facebook’s Audience Network will monetize unsold inventory, keeping its standard 30 percent if it sells the ad. Additionally, HTML and RSS will be incorporated to make Instant Articles feel more like a publisher’s website, allowing for a more personable and engaging user experience.
As for now, Facebook reports that Instant Articles won’t be given any special treatment from its News Feed sorting algorithm based solely on formatting. However, as Instant Articles’ popularity increases, so will the likes, comments and shares. Like any popular content, this means these articles will start to show up higher and more frequently on user’s feeds.
And as this interactive and engaging mobile news development gains in popularity, it’s only a matter of time before publishers are indirectly forced to adopt the new format. Thus, although this feature is not yet required for publishers, early adoption of the new formatting presents an excellent opportunity to get ahead of the curve.
For a more in-depth analysis of the new mobile application feature and its expected impact on the mobile news viewing experience, check out this awesome article from TechCrunch:http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/12/facebook-instant-articles/#.yeuuxe:rHUR